Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 9th May 2009 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 10 May 2009 18:44

On the day when Jacob Zuma was sworn into office the Vigil’s best wishes were for our friends in South Africa. We appreciate their latest visa moves and we trust that under President Zuma’s guidance, South Africa will no longer prop up Mugabe – though we were dismayed that Mugabe was given a standing ovation when he arrived at the inauguration. 

The Vigil notes that the ‘elders’ have urged the West to pour money into Zimbabwe. We have always called for as much humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe as possible but it is unrealistic to expect Western governments to hand over other funds to Zimbabwe without assurance that this money will be used properly. Zimbabwe must demonstrate that it respects the rule of law.   

Take for instance the case of Mr Gandhi Mudzingwa. Some of us know him and we are appalled that this tortured elderly man should be held hostage. We know that big issues are at stake, but is nothing a matter of principle? The Vigil is convinced that there can be no progress until the inclusive government acts on what it agreed.  

The longer this situation drags out the more difficult it will be to get people in the diaspora to go back to Zimbabwe because they will be putting down deep roots in their new countries. In other words Zimbabwe could be a permanent basket case. 

Our partners Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) are issuing regular statements which you can read on their website:  It is useful to have a commentary from inside Zimbabwe on current issues. There have been recent pieces on the need for a human rights commission, the state of the prisons, the harassment of human rights activists, the Harare International Festival of the Arts’ exposure of the murderers during last year’s elections and naming and shaming of ‘new farmers’. 

Other points:
·        Vigil team member Luka Phiri addressed a recent weekend meeting of the Trades Union Congress. He spoke about the failures of the new unity government but his main contribution was to help conduct a seminar on immigration and asylum.
·        We were joined by a bagpiper, Ben Buckland nan Cameron, in full regalia who was lifted shoulder high (with his bagpipes) when he accompanied our singing. He also accompanied the national anthem at the end of the Vigil.  We were very surprised to find out he was a relative (third cousin) of Ian Smith, the UDI Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. He was travelling on a bus when he saw us and decided to join in.
·        Many thanks to our extra helpers this week: Reginald Gwasira, Rebecca Rutsito and Patience Madjgara.
·        Our thoughts are with Vigil team member Sue Toft who is recuperating from an eye operation. We wish her a speedy recovery.   

For latest Vigil pictures checkour pictures page.

FOR THE RECORD: 264 signed the register. 

·        Central London Zimbabwe Forum. Monday 11th May. Dr Patrick Musami will talk about the health service in Zimbabwe. Venue: Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London, WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.
·        ROHR Cambridge general meeting. Saturday 16th May from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Arbury Community Centre, Campkin Road, Cambridge CB4 2LD. Substantive committee to be elected. The ROHR President and his executive and a well known lawyer will be present. Get advice and learn more about your rights. Contact: Josephart Hapazari 07782398725, Maggie Jenkins 07894064600, A Mubaiwa 07846170094 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.
·        ROHR Milton Keynes launch meeting. Saturday 23rd May. Venue: The Old Bath House, 205 Stratford Road, Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5RL. Contact Martha Jiya 07727016098, Josephine Sibongile Phiri 07853572982 / 07930276126, P Mandere 07946717754 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
·         First Zimbabwe Vigil Forum. Saturday 23rd May at 6.30 pm. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HL.
·    Service of solidarity with the torture survivors of Zimbabwe.  Friday 26th June from 7 – 8 pm. Venue: Southwark Cathedral. This is the 8th year the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has marked UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. For more information, visit: 
·        Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).


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